Thursday, February 25, 2016

Something  Rotten in Bernie Sanders’ Medicare-for-All Plan
Something is rotten in the state of Denmark

Shakespeare,  Hamlet
Bernie Sanders envisions his Medicare –for-All plan  as something akin to what exists in Denmark,  where universal coverage prevails,  where its 5.7 million people are among the happiest in the world,  where there is a high per capital income level, where there is a high level of social equality,  and where the rich pay more than their fair share in income taxes.
In other words, in the eyes of  Bernie Sanders,  Denmark is a state of domestic and health care bliss.  Perhaps that is why, at first blush,  50% of Americans like the idea of a single payer system with no premiums, no co-pays, no out-of-pocket costs.  But the approval rating drops to 24% when Americans know the trade-offs – higher taxes for all, including the middle and lower classes, giving up employer coverage,  and  being subject to more government controls.
For the whole story,  read the following from Kaiser Health News ( Jordan Rau, “Support for Sanders’ Single Payer Plan Drops with Control and Cost Concerns,”  February 25, 2015)
“The poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 50 percent of Americans favored the single-payer idea, but support was highly partisan: seven of 10 Democrats and two in 10 Republicans liked it. (KHN is an editorially independent program of the foundation.) However, only 24 percent of people would like to establish such a plan if given other options, including expanding the existing Affordable Care Act, according to the poll. A majority of Democrats favor the incremental approach rather than creating a universal government plan.”
“Campaign-style attacks on a plan like the one proposed by Sanders could wither its general popularity, the poll found. Support was reduced by nearly half when people were told that a single-payer plan would increase taxes or “give the government too much control over health care.” Support also dropped substantially after people were told a government plan would require eliminating or replacing the existing health care law.”
”Some of those opposed to a single government plan could be swayed by positive arguments, such as it would guarantee all Americans have insurance as a basic right or that the plan would eliminate premiums, copays and other costs borne by employers or individuals. At most, 13 percent were converted to favoring the idea, leaving 30 percent still opposed.”
”The words used to describe a single-payer plan also affected opinions, the poll found. “Medicare-for-all” was the most popular, with 64 percent of Americans responding positively. “Guaranteed universal health coverage” appealed to 57 percent of people. Only 44 percent liked “single-payer health insurance system” and 38 percent liked “socialized medicine.”
“Most Americans think that if guaranteed universal coverage through a single government plan was put into place, uninsured and low-income people would be better off, but there is little consensus among the public about how it would impact their care personally,” the pollsters wrote,"

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